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AAC telepractice during COVID-19 (Biggs et al., 2021)

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posted on 14.12.2021, 18:13 authored by Elizabeth E. Biggs, Michelle C. S. Therrien, Sarah N. Douglas, Melinda R. Snodgrass
Purpose: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has led to sudden, widespread use of telepractice, including providing services to children who use aided augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). This exploratory study examined speech-language pathologists’ (SLPs) experiences using telepractice to provide services to children and youth aged 3–21 years who used aided AAC during the earlier months of the pandemic (May–June 2020).
Method: Three hundred thirty-one SLPs responded to an online survey. Closed- and open-ended survey items were analyzed quantitatively and qualitatively and mixed at the point of interpretation to understand the experiences of SLPs related to the use of telepractice with children who use aided AAC, including how they perceived effectiveness.
Results: Most SLPs were using telepractice to provide both direct and consultation/coaching services to children who used aided AAC. There was fairly wide variation in perceptions of effectiveness of both types of services, but SLPs were more likely to rate consultation/coaching services as being more effective than direct services. SLPs identified factors impacting effectiveness across five dimensions: broader factors, practice-based factors (i.e., technology, the type of services), the child, parents and family members, and professionals. School-based SLPs perceived telepractice as being less effective than non–school-based SLPs.
Conclusions: The use of telepractice during the COVID-19 pandemic has unfolded quite differently for different SLPs and the children who use aided AAC that they serve. Although AAC telepractice offers promise for the future, particularly for partnering with families, further research is needed to know how to overcome challenges experienced by SLPs.

Supplemental Material S1. Coded factors impacting the perceived effectiveness of AAC telepractice, with descriptions and example quoted survey responses.

Biggs, E. E., Therrien, M. C. S., Douglas, S. N., & Snodgrass, M. R. (2021). Augmentative and alternative communication telepractice during the COVID-19 pandemic: A national survey of speech-language pathologists. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_AJSLP-21-00036

Funding

Use of research electronic data capture for survey distribution and management (REDCap) was funded by a grant to Vanderbilt University from National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences/National Institutes of Health (UL1 TR000445). Graphic services were supported in part by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant U54 HD083211 to the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development.

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